Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book vs. Movie: My Sister's Keeper

I read My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult the summer of 2006, which seems like a really long time ago. I read it for summer reading and absolutely loved it, so when the movie was released I really wanted to see it. If you don't know what it's about, the book and movie follows a young girl named Anna who was conceived to be a direct genetic match to her sister Kate who has leukemia. From the time she was born, Anna has been donating blood, platelets, bone marrow, etc to keep her sister alive. But now that Kate needs a kidney, Anna sues for medical emancipation and for the rights to her own body.

Review Without Spoilers

I thought My Sister's Keeper the Movie did a really nice job of following the book, for the most part. All the important things were kept in, the acting was good, the dialogue was nicely written. The only big difference is that the screenwriters completely changed the ending from the book. It is literally the total opposite, and it's interesting to see how far movies will stray from the books.

Review With Spoilers

I mainly do this section so I can provide specific details of changes from the book to movie, but I seperate it so people won't be spoiled. The big changes that I can remember is the movie got rid of a character named Julie, who is Anna's guardian ad litem and has a history with Campbell Alexander, Anna's lawyer. The book switches narration between a lot of the main characters, including Julie, but overall she didn't play that big of a role. Another thing that changed was the character of Taylor, who is Kate's boyfriend. He was in the book, but didn't have as big of a role in the movie. And now for the kicker: the most drastic change was the ending. Instead of Anna dying like in the book, Kate dies. I thought that Kate dying made more sense, but the ending of My Sister's Keeper was supposed to be ironic. The director/writers/whoever obviously thought that the irony would be lost on some people and decided to make it a sad cancer story instead. I don't really care either way, but like I stated before, it's interesting how much a book will change will when it's transformed into a movie.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause

Zoe is wary when, in the dead of night, the beautiful but frightening Simon comes to her house. Simon seems to understand the pain of loneliness and death and Zoe's brooding thoughts about her dying mother.
Simon is one of the undead, a vampire, seeking revenge for the gruesome death of his mother three hundred years ago. Does Simon dare ask Zoe to help free him from this lifeless chase and its intolerable solitude?

I wanted to read The Silver Kiss because it's a vampire book (who doesn't love vampires nowadays?) and also because it was written in 1990, way before the current vampire craze. I was really curious how Annette Curtis Klause would fashion her vampires. This time, vampires can't walk out in sunlight, are repelled by crucifixes, and can't cross over water. To turn someone into a vampire they have to suck the blood of a vampire (reminiscent of The Vampire Diaries, which came out around this time). So now that we have a basis for a book, let's get into the actual storytelling.

This is the second book I've read by Klause (the first being Blood and Chocolate) and the writing in The Silver Kiss is definitely similar to that book. It's kind of shallow, without getting into to much detail in the setting or characters. You find out a lot about Zoe and Simon throughout the book, but since it's written in third-person, it's hard to get into their heads (the book switches point-of-view between Zoe and Simon). The relationship between Zoe and Simon is also pretty shallow, but my expectations were low so that helped. She sees him twice I think, and then is inviting him in her house, which is a little unrealistic. I really enjoyed the ending though because Simon is trying to avenge his mother's death and it gets a little action-packed at the end. A nice touch was having Zoe's mother dying of cancer. It was really sad, but that event coincided nicely with Simon's immortality and the overall theme of death. There was some good discussion on death near the end which makes The Silver Kiss a little more in-depth of a novel. Overall, not a masterpiece of vampire novels or fantasy, but an interesting read nonetheless.

6 out of 10.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Book vs. Movie: Dear John

To read my review of Dear John by Nicholas Sparks, click here.

On Friday, I saw Dear John. It has two of my favorite actors in it, and I pretty much read the book just so I could watch the movie. But since I was a little disappointed in the book, I was extra curious to see if I would like the movie verson better.

Spoiler Free Review:

Dear John The Movie was a lot different than the book. I won't go into too much detail (see spoiler section), but the ending is completely different. I actually liked the movie ending better. Overall, I loved the scenes with Amanda and Channing; they are both really good actors and have a lot of chemistry together. I also thought the movie flowed better than the book so fans of romantic comedies will enjoy Dear John.

Review With Spoilers:

As I stated before there were a lot of differences between the book and the movie. In the movie, there is a greater emphasis on the letters, with a big chunk of the movie dedicated to John and Savannah writing/sending/receiving letters. In the book (even though it's titled Dear John) we only get to read two letters, both from Savannah. So the movie wins on that point.

In the book, Savannah marries her best friend Tim and dumps John for him. Tim also has an autistic brother Alan. This is the same in the movie, but the movie fails in that Tim is like fifteen years older and Alan is his son. The movie plays Tim off as a family friend, but the actor is even fifteen years older than Amanda Seyfried so it was pretty gross that they got married. It didn't make as much sense.

In the book, Tim has skin cancer and needs money for an experimental drug. John anonymously donates the money and Tim is cured. In the movie, Tim has lymphoma and the money John donates just gives him a few extra months, so he dies. Then the ending is very cliffhang-y, in that Savannah sees John on the street after Tim has died and walks up to him, with the audience not knowing what happens. I like this one much better because, sorry Tim, Savannah and John belong together.

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed the book and movie, even though there were things I didn't like in both. I have mixed feelings for both, so but I'm going to say that I liked the movie better because I liked the ending.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. How she takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and loves Mr. Rochester and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage are elements in a story that trascends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than that traditionally accorded to her sex in Victorian society. (Taken from back cover)

I had to read Jane Eyre for school and I, suprisingly, loved it. My class has about fifteen people in it, and I have a feeling that I'm going to be the only one who actually read the book (not counting a girl who already read it). And I think that's a shame because I really enjoyed it. Yes, Jane Eyre is long (502 pages) and the writing is at times thick with unnecessary detail, but the characters and plot make the read worthwhile. I especially liked Jane. She wasn't annoying and didn't really have any big faults that bothered me. By the way Charlotte Bronte wrote her, she could have been a real person. There is a bit of a mystery in the story and that kept me reading to find out what happened next. Even though Jane Eyre is very long and is sometimes slow reading, I thought it was an excellent book. If you have to read this for school, please give it a chance!

8 out of 10.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

Anke's father is abusive. But not to her. He attacks her brother and sister, but she is ignored, forced to be an invisible witness in a house of horrors. Believing she isn't worthy of even the worst kind of attention, Anke feels about as significant as the living room sofa. Until she makes the volleyball team at school. In a sport where you have to yell "Mine!" to play the ball, Anke learns for the first time how to make herself heard. As her confidence on the court builds, she finds a voice she didn't know existed. And it's not long before she realizes that if she can make people hear her while she's playing volleyball, then maybe she can be heard at home, too.

Author Thalia Chaltas leads you straight to the heart of Anke's darkly complicated world in this devastatingly powerful novel in poems. (Taken from inside flap)

Before I picked up Because I Am Furniture, I had no idea that it was written in verse. Not that that's a problem, but for some reason it's always a surprise when I open a book that is written this way. I'm like always caught off-guard, but in a good way, because I don't read too many books in verse. That being said, I think the format suited Because I Am Furniture perfectly. The story is very poetic and deserves to be written as such. And the book is interesting, because many books about child abuse involve the main character being a part of the abuse, but not in this one. Anke is completely ignored, and has to watch while her brother and sister receive the brunt of their father's "attention." I also loved the parts about volleyball, and how from this sport Anke found her voice and was able to use it for helping her family. Because I Am Furniture was a little sad, but overall was a hopeful story.

8 out of 10.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


It's finally stopped snowing where I live, after almost 24 hours of non-stop heavy snow and winds. And yes, school was out today and tomorrow, but shoveling 2 feet of snow sucks. We've had so much snow that's it's crazy. We've broken the record for the most snow in one season - 70 inches! At least now I can curl up with a good book and enjoy the winter wonderland.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore

In the magical world of Lorinar, Nimira is an exotic and dark-skinned trouser-girl who sings and dances in music halls for money. She's away from her homeland of Tiansher and is extremely poor, so when weathly Hollin Parry offers her a job singing with an automaton, she readily accepts. But rumors that the automaton is haunted cause Nimira to closely examine it and she discovers that a fairy is trapped in the mechanical body! As she talks to Erris, the fairy, he tells her how the current Ambassador of Magic killed the previous Ambassador and how fairies are being tortured by a council of sorcerers that Hollin is a part of. As Nimira tries to help Erris, she can't help falling in love with him, and is determined to find a way to save him.

I thought that Magic Under Glass was an okay book. The synopsis makes it sound like it will be an action-packed romantic fantasy, but I think it fell short of its expectations. I liked how the author created a new magical world, but it had parallels to history, like Lorinar resembling England and Tiansher, where Nimira was born, resembling India or Africa. I also liked the similaries to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, which I am currently reading (weird coincidence). However, I didn't think the relationship between Nimira and Erris, the automaton, was believable. She was supposed to be in love with him, but there wasn't much development, character- and relationship-wise, between the two of them. I also thought that the action at the end was lacking. It was a little silly and not as riveting and engrossing as it could be. The ending was a bit of a cliff-hanger, too, so I don't know if the author is planning on writing a sequel or not, but I think it could use one. Even though there were things I disliked about Magic Under Glass, I still enjoyed reading it and I think fans of fantasy will find this book to their liking.

6 out of 10.

Note: I am planning on changing the cover when the new one is released. This one is beautiful but it doesn't accurately depict Nimira's physical appearance.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick

When Holly loses her virginity to Paul, a guy she barely knows, she assumes their encounter is a one-night stand. After all, Paul is too popular to even be speaking to Holly... and he happens to have a long-term girlfriend, Saskia. But ever since Holly's mom died six months ago, Holly has been numb to the world, and she's getting desperate to feel something, anything - so when Paul keeps pursuing her, Holly relents. Paul's kisses are a welcome diversion... and it's nice to feel like the kind of girl a guy like Paul would choose.

But things aren't so simple with Saskia around. Paul's real girlfriend is willowy and perfect... and nothing like Holly. To make matters worse, she and Holly are becoming friends. Suddenly, the consequences of Holly's choices are all too real, and Holly stands to lose more than she ever realized she had. (Taken from inside flap)

I read Nothing Like You really quickly - in one night. The book was short and sweet, but it was almost too short. I don't say that about many books (usually the qualms I have are that the book is too long), but I think an extra hundred pages would have done wonders for Nothing Like You. Don't get me wrong, I really liked it and was able to read it fast, but for the sake of plot and character development, more content would have been better. I was first attracted to the book by its title (shallow, I know, but it's a really good one and fits the book perfectly) and then the interesting plot. A girl is helping a guy cheat on his girlfriend, and then becomes friends with the girlfriend? Intriguing...

So for the things I liked: the subplot with Holly's best friend Nils. He's a guy so there's all this tension and the reader wonders if anything has/will happen between them. I like Nils a lot, except his Casanova charactization. The way Holly described him, he had a new girlfriend every other week. It sounded a little ridiculous and unrealistic. I also really liked Saskia. She's seems like the stereotypical popular girl, but then Holly becomes friends with her and she's completely different. For so little stage time, she was a really cool character. Finally, I liked the ending. It wasn't the usual happily ever after ending, but it wasn't completely sad and hopeless, either. The author was able to reach a nice happy medium.

The things I didn't like: Paul. He was the biggest jerk and almost too much of a jerk because the whole time I was wondering what Holly was doing with him. I probably would have been wondering that regardless of his character, but it would have been more interesting for the story if he was genuinely a nice guy. Well, as nice as you can been when you're cheating on your girlfriend. Anyway, I was also a little iffy on Holly. She wasn't all bad but I hated how she would have a lot of mood swings. Obviously that was her personality but I found it kind of weird. So overall the book could have been taken in two different directions: it could be written short to appeal to less voracious readers or it could have been more in-depth and gone into detail with the characters. The author chose to make the book shorter, which isn't a bad thing. I still enjoyed Nothing Like You and recommend it to people who like quick reads.

7 out of 10.